In case there was any question, the Cleveland Indians demonstrated their commitment to fielding a winning product by agreeing to a four-year, $48 million contract with free-agent outfielder Michael Bourn. Whether the Tribe has accomplished that goal is debatable, but they've injected their club into a conversation about contenders.
Too many flies in the ointment
They've also injected a little life into Bourn's fantasy baseball value. As reporting dates approached, mock drafters were increasingly hesitant to select the speedy outfielder who last year was a regular in the top 50 mixed choices. Perhaps a slightly disappointing .274 average and 42 stolen bases contributed to that "slip," but there's something about the uncertainty of a free agent's destination that lends to greater perceived than actual risk. My goodness, what if he'd signed with the New York Mets? Ewww.
It's easy (and fun) to bash the Muts, but not Bourn, who's not reliably an asset in batting average but definitely one in OBP (which bodes well for his opportunities to run and score) and, of course, stolen bases. At any rate, his ADP will probably rise a bit now that he'll settle into the leadoff spot for the Indians. He'll almost assuredly have an always-on green light from his new manager.
Speculation has run rampant about the ripple effect of this signing on the rest of Terry Francona's lineup. There have been suggestions that the organization is already quite willing to part with Drew Stubbs. That may be true, but even if so, as the team's official site clarified, Tito's plans include a lineup that incorporates the former Cincinnati Red as a regular.
The Indians have the freedom to ...
About Nicholas Minnix
Minnix is baseball editor and a fantasy football analyst at KFFL. He plays in LABR and Tout Wars and won the FSWA Baseball Industry Insiders League in 2010.
The University of Delaware alum is a regular guest on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio and Baltimore's WNST AM 1570.
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